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Find Out What’s Actually In The New Health Care Reform

May 10, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Over the next month, West Virginians For Affordable Health Care will hold six public meetings around the state to answer questions about the new health care reform legislation passed this spring. Perry Bryant, the group's executive director, says polls show voters are evenly divided over the new law, and he says far more people are unsure about what it actually does.

"The overwhelming majority of people were confused about what actually is in the bill. This is an effort to get out and talk to people, and provide solid, objective answers to their questions."

Critics have charged the reforms will mean government control of medicine, but Bryant says patients' relationships with doctors will be unaffected. And, he adds, as long as people are happy with their current health insurance, that won't change, either.

The immediate effects, Bryant says, are that parents will be able to keep their adult kids on their health plans longer, and insurers can no longer deny coverage for preexisting conditions.

"Those reforms will occur this year. However, the major expansion of health insurance, whether it's through Medicaid or the exchanges, don't occur until 2014."

Over time, he says, three sets of people will benefit from the changes.

"The three big winners are the uninsured, individuals who are purchasing health care in the individual market, and small businesses. All of them should see better insurance coverage, and hopefully at a reduced cost. "

The meetings will be held in Parkersburg on May 12, Wheeling on May 13, Elkins on May 17, Morgantown on May 19, Shepherdstown on May 26 and Beckley on June 17. Details are available at www.wvahc.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV